Recently the issue of housing supply and affordability in Ireland has become the source of a lot of public commentary, much of it provided by special interest groups and one sided in nature. A welcome addition to this conversation is the recently published Royal Institute of Architects Housing Policy.
The document highlights the unsuitability of much of existing housing stock and explores the type of new housing that might be needed to meet current and future demands. It calls for improvements to Planning and Building Control to allow for reuse of existing buildings and adapting existing suburbs and the development of new forms of finance that facilitate more diverse types of home ownership and rental.
With households getting smaller and older, the 3-4 bed semi D suburb is an out dated model that needs to be challenged with new prototypes, aimed at creating demographically diverse and vibrant neighborhoods and communities. While we have many immediate problems, among them homelessness, only medium to long-term thinking can avoid these kinds of difficulties reoccurring in the future. We need a range of proposals; there is no one solution.